Retinal detachment is a common cause of loss of vision. It is therefore important to recognise the early signs of retinal detachment before there are any irreversible retinal changes.
Retinal detachment is more much common in people with myopia and the greater the myopia the greater the risk of developing a retinal detachment. The retina in myopic patients is thinner and weaker and can therefore more easily form a retinal tear or retinal hole through which fluid can enter underneath the retina and cause a detachment.
Retinal detachment can also occur after ocular trauma and with some other ocular conditions such as rarely a choroidal tumour (malignant melanoma).
The typical symptoms of retinal detachment are floaters, flashes of light and a darkish grey shadow across one area of the visual field, which can progress towards the centre of the vision if not treated. If these symptoms are present an Ophthalmologist should be consulted immediately, as retinal detachment is treatable. Retinal detachment can cause blindness if not treated early enough. If the retinal detachment goes across the macular even if surgery is done to put the retina flat, vision can still be distorted and poor as a result of macular involvement.
A family history of retinal detachment or previous history of posterior vitreous detachment can predispose to a retinal detachment i.e. the risk of having a retinal detachment is higher if the patient has a relative who suffers from this problem or the patient has already had posterior vitreous detachment or previous retinal detachment.